And if regular people have to adjust to the twin difficulties of the growing difficulty to achieve a “first world lifestyle” as well as lower consumption rates due to inflation and a growing world population, then people in power should also have to make those adjustments for the sake of fairness and justice. After all, that is what ethical and morally conscious leaders do, namely, to be one with the people in times of difficulty and national hardship.
The neoliberal contracting, looting, robbery, backstabbing, and treachery of the last two decades has to be replaced with something that is both economically and morally sustainable in the future. Certain individuals in power at the moment were part of that neoliberal culture and were beneficiaries of this corrupt culture over the last two decades, which is why the current administration in Washington lacks credibility and legitimacy to a certain extent.
The adage “more means less” is correct and valid in many ways, and it is applicable and sensible in the current economic, political, and social situation which the global community as a whole is facing. But the adage “more means less” is unacceptable and intolerable for a number of people at the very top of American political and social life, and as a result, the culture in Washington has actually moved farther to the right despite the appearances and the illusions, while the general populace is more left-leaning, as Noam Chomsky noted: “Corporate power, by now largely made up of financial capital, has reached a point where both political organizations – which by now barely resemble traditional parties – are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.”
Thus, as long as the adage “more means less” does not register into the heads of those at the very top of American political and social life who in turn control the culture and system in Washington through the strategy of “State Capture,” the degrowth and decline of America which coincidentally began at the peak of its power soon after World War II will continue in the future. As Chomsky wrote: “For the plutonomy – more narrowly, a tiny fraction of it at the upper extreme – privilege and wealth abound, while for the great majority prospects are often gloomy, and many even face problems of survival in a country with unparalleled advantages.”
As mentioned before, Western culture and Western history is largely based on a “class conflict” or “class struggle” which has failed to emerge into a consensus and compromise between the classes. But that conflict and struggle has not deterred many regular people from waging the conflict and struggle until there is a more just and sustainable society. As Chris Harman wrote:
“Out of these struggles will emerge new attempts to remould society around the values of solidarity, mutual support, egalitarianism, collective cooperation and a democratically planned use of resources. The ruling classes of the world, like their predecessors for 5,000 years, will do their utmost to thwart these attempts and will, if necessary, unleash endless barbarities so as to hang on to what they regard as their sacred right to power and property. They will defend the existing capitalist order to the end – even if it is the end of organized human life.”
Hence, what is at stake in this class conflict or struggle in America is basic human existence and human life amidst all the current-day economic, political, and social phenomena which are manifesting into a global context and situation which in turn is defined by complexity, paradox, and uncertainty. Given the vital interests of human existence and human life which are at stake, it follows that the demand which is non-negotiable in this class bargaining and conflict is the creation of “a new civil democratic society, that is non-capitalist and non-exploitative and more socially just, humane, and freer than our current neoliberal capitalist social order.” And upon reflection, one comes to the realization that the likeliest alternatives to this new society are utterly dark, dangerous, grim, and risk-ridden.